Hertha BSC Berlin
The blot on Hertha's copybook of relegation to the second flight lasted only a season, ensuring the Bundesliga again includes representation from the German capital. Their demise was all the more surprising given the boon the club enjoyed following German reunification, qualifying first for the UEFA Cup, and then defeating the likes of Chelsea FC and AC Milan in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League.
Nine years later and things looked even rosier, Swiss coach Lucien Favre overseeing their most successful first half to a Bundesliga campaign. They fell short of their first top-flight crown in nearly 70 years, though. Relegation came the following season, but Markus Babbel restored the club to its rightful place by steering them to the 2. Bundesliga crown – drawing a crowd of 77,116 to the Olympiastadion for the 2-1 win against second-placed FC Augsburg on the final day.
In stark contrast to Hertha's illustrious past, this will be a first season in the highest league for Augsburg. It marks the end of an impressively steady ascent since climbing into the second tier for a third time in 2006. Up until now, the 1973/74 campaign was as close as they had come, finishing a point adrift of Tennis Borussia Berlin after a season when over 90,000 fans watched their game against TSV 1860 München.
Two years ago Augsburg moved into a new stadium with a capacity of more than 30,000 and were duly inspired to finish third and qualify for the promotion play-offs. Defeated 3-0 on aggregate by 1. FC Nürnberg on that occasion, they went one better the following year and secured an automatic route up a division as runners-up to Hertha. In the five weeks since their rise was confirmed, the club's membership has shot up from 3,000 to 8,000.
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